"God will not let us down..." --Msgr. John Esseff
Pope Benedict XVI has resigned as Supreme Pontiff effective Feb. 28, 2013. Read the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's declaration. It has been over 600 years since this occurred in the life of the Church.
Msgr. John Esseff, at the age of 84, is the same age as Pope Benedict XVI. He has been a priest in the Diocese of Scranton, PA for sixty years as well as an exorcist for forty years. He was friends with, and a confessor to, Mother Teresa, and had a special connection with St. Padre Pio. Upon this historical occasion of Pope Benedict’s announced resignation, Esseff offered his insight and prayers. For the complete audio, go to his website, Building a Kingdom of Love .
Calling Pope Benedict’s announcement a decision of love, Esseff reflected on the enormous burden of the papacy during these very dark times in our world. He called it an office that was once a place of honor, but now more and more, the weight has increased due to the gathering darkness all around the world where leadership is failing us.
“He has been so marvelously guiding us through these dark and difficult days, but now he sees [the office] as something that he is unable to continue,” said Esseff. “As he reminds us, this ship is Christ. The leader and the truth of the Catholic Church in the world is Christ.” Esseff stated that we should keep in mind that this Church we belong to, is headed by Jesus and we have his promise that it will never go astray, that even the gates of hell would not prevail.
Pope Benedict is the most perfectly trained theologian that we have had for centuries, according to Esseff. “His mind, his heart, and his spirit have guided us through some of the most difficult, dark days that mankind has seen, and now we are about to see in this transition, that God will not let us down.” He pointed out that the Church does not depend on any single man, but on Jesus, the true head.
Esseff said that he believes, that now, Pope Benedict will enter into a time of suffering for our Church, as an individual bishop and as part of the body of Christ, so we must pray for him. “We should thank God for his leadership, for his spirit, for his courage, for his wisdom, and for the courage he allowed himself, to be so victimized as a lover of the truth that within himself he can say before God that I now pass this torch on to another.”
Esseff delivered his message amid some tears and stressed a deep gratefulness that God gave us a leader who carried such a heavy burden these past years. “Pray for him as he enters into this suffering and prayer, and pray for the one who will now bear the burden in our dark times, suffering for a lack of leaders.”
According to Esseff, the last 100 years have been the darkest years for our Church. He credited Pope Benedict for beautifully taking us into the 21st Century. In spite of a note of sadness, Esseff expressed great confidence in the future. “God will continue to give us holy saints as our leaders in the Church,” he said. “May God bless you, Holy Father, every moment until you resign and thereafter. And may God prepare us and bless us in choosing, through the power of the of the Holy Spirit, a holy successor to a holy pope.” Esseff encouraged everyone to join him in prayer, to the Third Person of the Trinity.
He ended in song and with a final prayer:
“Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our souls take up your rest;
Come with your grace and heavenly aid
To fill the hearts which you have made….
“Father, send us the promised Paraclete through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. Mary, spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us and pray for your special son, Benedict XVI.”